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In a country where planes constantly being late is common as rain and where office meetings have a built-in 5-10-minute start allowance, it would appear that the only things that always run on schedule these days are movie screenings. Save for our airlines’ infamous image and the movie houses’ strict adherence to schedules, I must admit to generalizing a bit regarding late meetings. I know of some civic groups that start on time and impose a heavy fine on latecomers. However, even with that, there are still those who come late, and just pay the fine. In the end, in spite of much-fuller coffers, the punctuality issue persists and serves as a reliable milking cow.

In the offices, any guard on duty will admit about some employees having liberties with daily time entries, and it’s just amazing at how creative they have become at rationalizing tardiness. Of course, traffic is still the most popular alibi, even as others have already gone around that by leaving home earlier to beat it.

One might ask, is tardiness a cultural thing? I read in some Arab countries, the concept of time is quite loose that, any agreement to meet at an appointed hour could be interpreted in many ways and could encompass any time of day or week. In another vein, I met an Austrian doctor long ago who theorized that because Asians do not have to contend with the cold of winter and a limited time for planting, we are more laid back, thus sure of our food sources. We could even “flex-time” when it comes to house repairs. With that, perhaps the reason had something to do with the seasons then? Finally, when injected the concept of the “siesta”, the afternoon nap that we have dubiously inherited from the Spanish conquista, I’m led to conclude, tardiness could likewise be pegged as historical. Wink-wink.

Truth is, however we justify our propensity to for being tardy, it still depends on the individual. In truth, anyone can decide whether to be late or not and regardless of consequences, it is really a personal choice. By this, the saying that change must start from within cannot be more clear. Although studies on punctuality and time management abound, with trainings and other seminars also made available to the workforce, it’s still really up to us whether we want our personal discipline to kick in, because that’s where it all begins. I used to have a college classmate who said he sleeps in his ROTC uniform during weekends so that he’s off and running when it’s time to go to formation. Just as tardiness in the workplace affects productivity, common and intimate relationships can likewise be strained because of it. Surely, each and everyone has their own set of priorities, and for these priorities to be put on second by someone else’s can be downright stressful. Whether intended or not, tardiness, especially by habitual latecomers, is an indirect allusion that their time is more important than yours. Worse, they have no respect for your time. Whether correct or not, don’t delay, text me a reply, quick.


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